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ABIR panel on allyship: Bermuda reinsurers lead on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion during Dive in Festival

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ABIR panel on allyship: Bermuda re/insurers lead on
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion during Dive In Festival



Hamilton, Bermuda (September 6, 2021)— The Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers (ABIR) will host a virtual panel discussion this month on the importance of active allyship in achieving diversity, equity and inclusion within organizations.

The September 23 event, entitled “Where Do We Go From Here?”, will feature Bermuda re/insurance industry leaders and internationally renowned experts discussing how leaders can develop a greater sense of allyship, mentorship and sponsorship within their organizations.

The panel is part of the Dive In Festival, a three-day global event from September 21-23 that aims to educate, equip and empower insurance leaders and people in positions of privilege to understand how to be allies and champions for all.

Participating on the ABIR panel will be:

Catherine Duffy: Country Leader, AIG, and ABIR’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee Chair, will moderate the discussion. Duffy is a veteran of the Bermuda international insurance industry and was the first Bermudian woman to earn the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter credential. She is also the author of the first comprehensive book tracing the development of the insurance industry in Bermuda, Held Captive – A History of International Insurance in Bermuda.

Marc Grandisson: CEO of Arch Capital Group Ltd. and Chairman of ABIR. Grandisson was promoted to CEO of Arch in March 2018, having worked his way up the ranks since joining the group as Chief Actuary of Arch Reinsurance in October 2001. He went on to take several more leadership roles at Arch Re, including Chief Underwriting Officer, Chief Operating Officer, President and CEO. He has since served as Chairman and CEO of Arch Worldwide Insurance Group and President and Chief Operating Officer of Arch Capital Group. He began his elected role as Chairman of ABIR in January 2021. Grandisson is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries.


• Albert Benchimol: President and CEO of AXIS Capital Group Ltd. and past Chairman of ABIR. Benchimol was appointed CEO of AXIS Capital in May 2012, having joined the group as Chief Financial Officer in January 2011. He formerly served as CFO of PartnerRe Ltd. from April 2000 through September 2010, and Chief Executive Officer of PartnerRe's Capital Markets Group business unit from June 2007 through September 2010. He served a two-year term as Chairman of ABIR during 2019 and 2020. He sits on both the Insurance Development Forum Steering Committee and the St John’s University Maurice R. Greenberg School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science Board of Overseers.


• Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole: The National Chair and seventh President of the National Council of Negro Women, an advocacy organization with more than 2 million members, working in the interest of women’s rights and civil rights. An accomplished educator, Dr. Cole is a noted speaker and author on issues of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion, and a committed advocate for social justice. She rose to prominence as the first African American woman President of Spelman College and, later, as President of Bennett College, making her the only person to serve as president of both historically Black colleges for women in the United States. As a Senior Consulting Fellow at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, she worked on initiatives on diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion in art museums and higher education. Dr. Cole has also served on the corporate boards of Home Depot, Merck, Nation’s Bank South and Coca-Cola Enterprises.


• Howard Ross: a lifelong social justice advocate, who is considered one of the world’s seminal thought leaders on identifying and addressing unconscious bias. He is the author of ReInventing Diversity: Transforming Organizational Community to Strengthen People, Purpose and Performance, and The Washington Post best seller, Everyday Bias: Identifying and Navigating Unconscious Judgments in Our Daily Lives). His latest book, Our Search for Belonging: How Our Need to Connect is Tearing Us Apart, won the 2019 Nautilus Book Award Gold Medal for Social Change and Social Justice. Ross has specialized in neuro-cognitive and social science research and its direct application to diversity, inclusion, equity and accessibility. His client work has focused on the areas of corporate culture change, leadership development, and managing diversity, inclusion and belonging. Ross has successfully implemented large-scale organizational culture change efforts in the area of managing diversity and cultural integration in academic institutions, professional services corporations, Fortune 500 companies, and retail, health care, media, and governmental institutions.

On the panel, Dr. Cole and Ross will discuss their experiences of creating a pathway to allyship, while the industry leaders will share specific actions leaders can engage in to become better allies, sponsors and mentors and actions that they have taken in their organizations and how successful they have or haven't found those actions.

Suzanne Williams-Charles, Director of Policy & Regulation and Corporate Secretary of ABIR, said: “Our aim in bringing together this combination of industry and academic expertise and experience is to advance the discussion on the practicalities of embedding and nurturing a DEI culture within organizations.

“ABIR and our member companies strongly encourage diversity and inclusion at all levels of the insurance industry and we are pleased to be able to make this significant contribution to the Dive In Festival program in Bermuda.”

The panel discussion will take place from 3pm to 4.30pm, Atlantic Daylight Time, on September 23. Joining ABIR as sponsors of the event are AIG, Arch Capital Group and Chubb.

For more information on the Dive In Festival, visit

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Photo: Cathy Duffy, Marc Grandisson, Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Albert Benchimol, Suzanne Williams-Charles, Howard Ross

About ABIR: The Association of Bermuda Insurers & Reinsurers (ABIR) represents Bermuda’s major property and casualty insurers and reinsurers doing business in 150 countries. Bermuda is an internationally recognized center of global expertise on underwriting for catastrophe, climate, cyber, mortgage & credit risk transfer products, along with other specialty insurance and reinsurance. For more information, please visit: Follow us on Twitter @ABIR_Bermuda.

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